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In two short weeks, Congress just proved it could work in a bipartisan manner to pass major pieces of legislation. Perhaps, we should save all the major pieces of legislation until last two weeks of the year. At least we would have that Christmas time off leverage. The senate will probably pass the last two obstacles, the Start treaty and compensation for the 9/11 first responders. During their coffee break they managed to pass a couple of omnibus spending bills to keep the government going.

The 9/11 first responders bill just proved that the American voter still has a powerful voice and when it's backed by the media; it's overwhelming. Jon Stewart got the ball rolling when he had some 9/11 responders tell their story. The democrats were already on board, and the house easily passed their version, but it ran into the usual roadblocks in the senate. It wasn't until Shepherd Smith of Fox News started screaming about the injustice, that the republican senators started rethinking their position. The outcry from the public was overwhelming. They eventually cut $2 billion dollars from the original proposal and will pay the $4 billion over five years in direct payments to the 9/11 heroes.

It doesn't do any good to have a voice and the media if you leave out the truth and simple logic. I saw where a poster blamed president Obama for Victoria's jobs’ lack of jobs. How silly is that, even if you were to allow the 6° of Kevin Bacon logic? Why can't we agree that when the $8 trillion housing bubble burst, it took the lending institutions,real estate firms,hardware stores and all the related construction industry with it? That's why state budgets are not balancing their budget; it's not because of pension funds they weren't funding anyway. Prudence, virtue and self restraint is appealing but when consumers aren't spending, austerity measures are counterproductive. That doesn't mean that we can't back load spending cuts as we start to recover. I think John Boehner's idea of an instant 25% cut across the board will choke the recovery. Voting against "raising the debt ceiling" will cause unnecessary financial turmoil and cause the bond market vigilantes to squirm in their chairs. I'm not against spending cuts, entitlement reforms, and cuts in defense spending, but we must do it in a way that will not upset our recovery.

I can't overemphasize, that the $8 trillion housing bubble created a lot of demand such as labor, construction spending, mortgages and refinancing, so we're not suffering because we can't produce enough; we can't consume enough. We can't satisfy our short term demand problem with spending cuts. The countries that implemented successful austerity measures did it in prosperous times. That train has left the station for now, but once we recover; it won't be too late to start all over. I know the already overburden,skeptic taxpayers would never go for it, but TARP did work for Wall Street, why not for the states?... It's simple logic; lend them the money, charge interest and everybody's happy except the ideologues. It should never become commonplace but this is the worst recession since the Great Depression.What's the old saying " Drastic times call for drastic measures."

I love to hear economists argue about the different ways to jump-start our struggling economy. The ones I've listened to, all agree that we need to start some sort of job training in technology. The unemployed are losing their job skills, and it's highly unlikely that the industry they were employed in will come back. Then again, about the only thing left to do is to give the employer a one year break from matching payroll FICA tax for their employees. I certainly do not pretend to have all the answers; I'm just sharing those that I have heard.

This will be my last blog for the year; Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to all.